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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

The Business of Calling (A Look Back: Days 1-8)

jenmichel@me.com

This "series" has been struggling to harness its continuity - of course I have only myself to blame and the whirl of summer's end. So rather than jumping right back and finishing up the remaining five days, I thought we'd take a couple of days to look back and remember where we've been. You'll find links here to the individual posts as well as some of the main thoughts for each day. Day 1: An Introduction

Christians use the word, “calling,” to describe their life’s aspirations. It’s a word that dignifies our work. It’s a word that imbues our life with eternal importance. It’s a word that signifies our relationship to God and our obedience to Him.

 

Day 2: An Appetite for Performance.

We’re going to have to settle what it is we owe God. Our work [and calling] can be the way we fight and struggle for our materiality and significance. It can be our dogged chase to secure something (or someone) to prove just how much we are worth. But we don’t owe God and can’t repay God. Performance would do away with the need for grace. Instead, calling is a response to His love.

 

Day 3: Pray. Love. Eat.

What God calls each of us to do is nurture, not only our relationship with Him but our relationship with others. Honoring our relational commitments is a primary part of our calling. We are each daughters, friends, some of us wives and mothers. The temptation today is to forget that these relationships, not our possessions or accomplishment or career, constitute the whole of our life. Calling can be as simple as loving the people you call family.

The unsung heroes today are the lovers.

 

Day 4: When Life Bleeds

If life is permeable, if there is to be no plugging up the holes of the unexpected worst, it is well time to give it into the hands of Another. It is time to catch a glimpse of a future city, a future home, and I need this vision for calling. Is loss the only suitable lens for seeing it, the only real way to grab hold of immaterial hope? Is bleeding required for loving?

 

Day 5: Ruby Slippers of Courage

The way of calling starts as interior travel. It is God inside of you, willing and working. Then, and only then, do you wear it like ruby slippers that you’ve awoken to, surprised at the sparkle at your feet. You figure out just what it means along the way with the help of your Tin Man and Lion and Scarecrow, those fellow travelers God has granted for your journey. Sometimes you are seized by terror but move with the steady reassurance that your yellow brick road is meant for travel and your slippers made for wear.

 

Day 6: Marriage and Calling

I have at times harbored resentment about the weight of Ryan’s calling that I’ve been forced to carry on my shoulders. But the resentment, while it might be natural, is misguided. Why should this responsibility surprise me? We always bear the weight of our partner’s calling on our shoulders, and this is exactly how it MUST work.

 

Day 7: Whir and Whirl, Silence and Solitude

Calling isn’t always need-based. The world is a gaping wound, a parched beast; pour your drink offering down its throat, and it will never be sufficient for the healing you long and pray for, which is why it is necessary to be sober and level-headed when considering your calling in response to needs. Needs can overwhelm, inspire a god-complex, exhaust you so fully as to make you of little use to anyone, not the least of whom is God. Ultimately, calling is a matter of response. We are responding not first to needs but to the One by whom we are owned, which is why all questions of calling are decided by patient listening. Hear God. And isn’t this almost always the most difficult thing about spiritual life?

 

Day 8: Losing My Religion

Calling is an everyday matter, as most of our life is. Daily, listening and watching for God, daily surrendering to Him the below-the-surface motoring, daily remembering to linger and laugh. And daily-ness shreds the self-importance, reminds me of my poverty.

Lining up for daily bread is the only way to lose your religion. Our Father in heaven, the One with the aerial view. . .